Referral SPAM: What? How?

As a stats nerd, I’m constantly checking the Google Analytics data for Fatberry. I pay particular attention to the referers, meaning the sites (domains) which users are coming from to visit Fatberry. There are the usual ones I expect, here and there a new one which I generally recognize as being a real company/site and then every now and then there’s one that doesn’t make any sense. Top candidates in that latter category:,,

You’ll notice that those three domains are not a link you can click. That’s on purpose. Don’t go there. They’re evil.

They are not legitimate users, but instead they’re shady companies trying to sell unsuspecting website operators on whatever crap they offer. This is their “marketing”, effing with the Google Analytics stats of websites to try to get your to buy their product. I’m not going to make any blanket statements on their nature, but many of these types of services link back to the largest of a former union of states which is east of Europe and often very cold.

So what do you do about it? It’s essentially a bit of whack-a-mole and likely an ongoing effort. There are three basic things to do:

1) Try to filter these out in your server with an .htaccess file change

This is the best solution, because the bots never get to load your web pages and consequently can’t get to your Google Analytics. The best list I could find is here: You’ll need to keep updating this.

2) Set up individual filters in Google Analytics to ignore this data

You can also filter within Google Analytics itself. The downside of this is that it apparently causes sampling issues with your data and some folks recommend NOT doing this, but my take is that if you’ve got a baseline set via method #1 above, adjusting something in GA quickly while you see it is easier than a server config change. You’ll want to transition these to .htaccess changes (#1) over time, but I think it’s a good short-term measure. Start by going to “All Filters” in your GA Admin panel:

admin filters


Then configure filters like this:

filter edit

Make sure to pop your views from the left box at the bottom to the right one.

3) Tell Google Analytics to filter their known bots out

This is a no-brainer that you should always have set. Might as well take their help. Select your view in the admin panel and then check the Bot Filtering checkbox.

view auto filter


That’s the quick overview. There are some deeper guides about this, but IMO, these are the couple of quick fixes you can make in a few minutes and you should have a pretty good solution in place with an easy way to maintain.

5 Best Practices for Creating Facebook Quizzes & Surveys

What's your #winatlife score?


We decided to put together a little quiz/game/survey to see how popular some of Whttl‘s startups are and distill that down into an easy to understand number. It’s called the #winatlife score and you can take it here: Not to say that what we did is perfect, but we discovered a few best practices for creating these that I thought I’d share: Continue reading

How Startups Can Make A Busy Mom’s Life Better (And Dad’s, Too)

#winatlife BLOG

I’m a new dad. My daughter just turned 1 last Friday. The last year has been tremendously rewarding, but my wife and I have become cognizant of where our time goes like never before. Other moms and dads can surely relate.

My family and I are moving to San Francisco in a few months so that I can focus on my startup, Whttl. Sure, Silicon Valley and San Francisco are known for their digital contributions, but there is a surprising trend that we will be taking advantage of in order to free up some of our time. We’ll be utilizing the following startups to drastically reduce our energy spent on simple and repetitive tasks.

A new wave of “service startups” have popped up in the last few years. They have real world implications and if used properly, can drastically restructure the way one spends their days and weeks. A proper execution…

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Whttl is the tasty way to #winatlife

Charlie Sheen WinningBig news: we are proud to announce Charlie Sheen as Whttl’s official media advisor and ambassador. We are honored to be working with such a respected celebrity and look forward to learning media excellence from Charlie. Welcome to the team!

Just kidding. I’m sure Charlie’s still out there #winning. We’re laughing with you all the way, Charlie! (though he’s probably laughing his way to the bank on his own…)

Anyway, now that I have you here, I do actually have something to announce for Whttl. We just launched our biggest feature that allows you to #winatlife.

Continue reading

Whttl did you know…

Love for booking flights? So do I, but where do you go to discover and book those new-fangled sharing economy services like Homejoy, Handy, Munchery, RelayRides, Zimride, SpoonRocket, TaskRabbit, DogVacay, Rover and many, many others?

As any rhetorical question implies, I’ve got the answer!😛

Continue reading

Thoughts on Tony Stewart Incident and Track Safety

I’ve talked to a few folks about this since it happened, read lots of posts on it and started to form my own opinion. Here’s a recap of what happened, as factual and non-presumptuous as possible:

  1. Tony Stewart raced in an amateur Sprint Car dirt track race in the evening Saturday August 9th at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, NY. He was set to race a NASCAR race the next day at Watkins Glen, about 50 miles away.
  2. There was an on-track incident between the cars driven by Tony Stewart and 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. As a result Kevin Ward Jr. spun and crashed with his car apparently non-operable on the track. Yellow flags come out, which means caution, no overtaking.
  3. Kevin Ward Jr. gets out of his car with cars still on track, apparently in an attempt to confront Tony Stewart the next time he comes around.
  4. Many cars drive by Kevin Ward Jr. and when Tony Stewart comes around, Kevin is hit by Tony’s car and injured seriously enough to die shortly thereafter.

This is an extremely sad circumstance. I feel extremely sorry for the Ward family’s loss, particularly since they were in the stands to see it. I have personally not watched a video of the incident, because I don’t feel the need to watch someone die. I’ve read enough to still make some statements about this as an avid racing fan, an attendee of racing schools and a sometimes-driver at amateur races and track days. Continue reading

California Compliance Center is a SCAM

It took me a second to figure this one out, but it’s quite the scam. In short, if you register an LLC (and maybe other corporation types) in California, a company called “California Compliance Center” sends you an official-looking letter and bill for a supposed Certificate of Good Standing. Check out their seal as exhibit A:

CCC Logo

The seal looks like it could be from a state government agency, right? Well, it most definitely is not. I wish I hadn’t shredded the letter and return envelope to first snap a photo, but they basically send you a bill which says that this is something you need to do. The bill amount is $49.95, though the amount due is $0. I’m no lawyer, but my guess is that’s probably how they keep it legal. They’re not telling you there’s an amount due, just a bill for what it costs.

I get so mad at these bottom-feeders who try to prey on unsuspecting new business owners by scanning the recent business registrations (it’s public record) and then sending them these official-looking letters. I’m pretty alert to this stuff and a quick Google search told me it’s a scam, but I’m sure lots of people forked over 50 bucks to get a worthless piece of paper from these jerks. This “certification” certifies nothing other than the fact that you got taken for a ride. It simply amazes me that people can live with themselves and run these types of businesses for seemingly good profit.

If you do need a certificate of good standing for a California corporation, you get this via the Secretary of State (SOS) website at this link: Apparently these types of misleading business solicitations are pretty common, so common that it’s the first entry into an FAQ on the SOS website. If you do get ensnared by one of these scams, you can complain via this page:

I have some choice words for these guys that I’ve thus far restrained myself from typing.

Ok, I can’t any longer.

Fucking Assholes.